I’ve been on this zero waste journey for almost 2 years and while I still have a long way to go, I’m getting closer to my goal. One thing that I need to get better at is finding multiple uses for the things I already have, but that’s a story for another time. Here are a few things that I do when I dine out.
- Bring my own silverware and cloth napkin.
- If I know that they are serving my drink in a disposable cup, I bring my own and ask them to use that.
- I frequent a couple restaurants that I know serve with glassware
- If I anticipate leftovers, I bring my own container
- If there is a paper placemat and/or wrapped silverware, I put them aside and/ or tell them that I won’t be using them ( I’ve had people ask if I get embarrassed or uneasy about this one, and simply, no I don’t)
- I always ask for no straw
- When it’s time to pay, I always ask for no receipt. If I need to, I write my total in my phone, but my bank is pretty good about keeping track.
- I normally have hot tea with my meal, so I ask for a cup of hot water and use my loose leaf tea and tea ball.
That’s basically all I do. It may seem like a lot at first, but I normally just wash my dishes and clothes and stick them in my bag or lunch box by the door, so it’s all there and ready to go when I need it.
In a time where I feel like I can’t do anything on the massive scale that I would like. I start to reevaluate to a smaller “me sized” scale. I can start making little changes in my life that have all the potential to snowball into big changes. I HAVE WAGED MY OWN WAR ON STUFF! Inspired by the book Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson. I’ve started step number one of “Refuse”. I’ve been a minimalist in progress for about a year and a half now and while I can feel the change in myself and my outlook on the world from not being consumed my STUFF, I also didn’t want less stuff to mean more in the garbage. So recently I’ve made small changes.
- Exchanging paper towels for cloth towels
- Exchanging tissues for “hankies”
- Signing up for online statements for all my bills
- Receiving my tax forms and filing my taxes online
- Using reusable shopping bags at the store
- Signing up for eRecipients at the major stores I shop at
- Buying products with little to no packaging
- Making requests to companies that don’t offer eRecipients
- Compost all my food scraps
- Donate a bag or two every couple months with clothes and other miscellaneous items that no longer serve a purpose for me.
- Taking my own cup to places that use paper cups
Now with that there still comes a lot of room for growth and improvement. Things that I do that I’m not proud of in this area:
- I don’t recycle (my town doesn’t offer recycling and trying to take it all to another town is just not something I’ve put in my arsenal yet)
- I ask cashiers to throw away my receipts. For the places that still use paper receipts I figure that as long as I don’t have it, it’s fine. But, I understand that just because I didn’t throw it away personally, doesn’t mean it still didn’t end up in the trash.
- Buying harmful chemical cleaners instead of buying or making my own safe plant based cleaners
- Waste water (Showering, how I wash dishes, cleaning, etc.)
- I had eliminated all plastic kitchenware in my home last year, but then I wanted to try meal prepping…..well meal prepping lasted about 2 weeks and I now have a lot of tupperware
I’m a work in progress, but this is a battle I don’t intend to lose!